Barbara Lawlor, Gilpin County
It is a night that local fathers and daughters look forward to all year long. The Gilpin County Recreation Center Sweetheart Ball, held last Saturday, turns girls into princesses and dads into kings.
Oh, the dresses with matching shoes. The suits with ties and spit-shined shoes. Looks of adoration on the faces of the young sweeties. Tender, almost teary dads gazing at their daughters with nothing but total love.
The music picks up and the fathers twirl and spin the youngsters on the floor. They all look as if they have been practicing their moves.
Greg Temple and his partner Jadyn Besiallon, 8, of Gilpin County, were dazzling as they performed some slide-on-the-floor tricks, she with a white flower in her black hair and a smile as big as the sun.
Pat Stein and Emma, 8, of Nederland, were one of the Ned couples that make the annual trip to the Sweetheart Ball. The second graders not only loved dancing with their dads, but also with each other when the fathers needed to catch their breath.
Scott Hammers and his daughter Ande, 8, in third grade, said this was the second year in a row that have attended the special event. Ande’s long white dress shimmered in the light as she flew through the air. She said she has worn the dress two other times when she was in weddings. The Ball is a great excuse to get out those seldom-worn dresses before they no longer fit.
Gilpin School second graders Skyley Ramsey and Sarah Lovett stretched out their arms and looked like they were ready for Dancing With the Stars as they put on their drama faces.
Matthew Sorrell said he was happy to finally bring his daughter Kailyn, 6, to the dance. “This is our first time and I have been wanting to do it for years. I just wish we had started when she was younger. This is so nice.”
No one appreciated the chance to dance with his daughter, Cheyanne, more than Ron Fejarang, who moved to Gilpin County last year. He retired from the Air Force after serving in Iraq, Bosnia, and Guam, and his dress uniform was covered with medals he earned while in the service. “This is very special to me and I hope it is for her too. I couldn’t be here before.”
With a white rose between her teeth, Lauren Merz was brilliant in her shiny red dress and black boots with matching red laces and tights. Her dad Chris said that it was the third year the Gilpin couple had attended the event.
Each year memories are made at the Sweetheart Ball; a special time shared too seldom in a busy world; a night to remember.